Microsoft needs to stop trying to coerce users and control how they use their computer.
Microsoft is constantly tinkering with Windows 10, dropping in new features and swapping out old ones, but there are a few annoyances it seems unable or unwilling to fix.
What ties most of the following complaints together is Microsoft's reluctance to let users choose for themselves, preferring instead to try to coerce users and control how they use their computer.
Here are the five ways Windows 10 is broken that Microsoft needs to sort out.
1. Sort out the Control Panel / Settings app confusion
Windows 10 adopts a rather confused approach to managing settings--splitting the options between the legacy Control Panel and the Settings app.
Microsoft appears to be in the process of gradually migrating these options to the new Settings app, with each big feature update further diminishing the role of the Control Panel.
However, having to juggle between the two menus is not particularly user friendly, and the changes in where settings lie is particularly aggravating for some users, as can be seen by the large number of forum posts this issue generates.
You can use the Search function to locate the Settings you need, but there are still clearly a large number of users who still struggle to locate what they're looking for.
2. Give all users control over updates
All Windows 10 users should be given control over when updates are applied.
Currently there is no simple option for Windows 10 Home users to defer updates in the same way there is for users of Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions.
SEE: Windows 10: Streamline your work with these power tips (free TechRepublic PDF)
Users of non-Home editions can toggle options in menus to put off updates for months at the very least. However, Home users have to engage in hacky workarounds, such as setting their connection to 'Metered', which can have unwanted side effects due to Windows no longer downloading most Windows updates or Windows Store app updates.
Microsoft should just relent and give the Home edition the same level of control over updates as is available to Pro users.
3. Allow users to opt out of feature updates altogether
Not everyone appreciates Microsoft's twice-yearly feature updates messing with their desktop, and, for some, the smattering of new features are, at best, unnecessary.
Microsoft should give all users the option to completely opt out of feature updates--the most recent being the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update--and instead only receive essential patches and fixes.
As it is, users of Pro and Enterprise can defer feature updates for more than a year, so why not go one step further and let everyone opt out altogether.
Does it really make sense for people who don't have the slightest interest in virtual reality to suddenly find their computer has a Mixed Reality Portal?
There's even already precedent for the change, with Microsoft recently revealing that PCs with unsupported Intel Atom CPUs would not receive any feature updates post last summer's Anniversary Update.
4. Stop trying to force Bing and the Edge browser on users
While it makes sense for Microsoft to build an ecosystem of linked services, from both a practical and commercial point of view, it would be nice if Microsoft let users choose their search engine when using Windows built-in search feature.
Microsoft says that locking the Search function to Bing and its Edge browser is necessary to ensure the best possible experience for Windows 10 users.
But given the relatively limited market share of Bing and Edge, it's clear that many users prefer competing products and services, so again it would be good if Microsoft would allow users to use their search engine or browser of choice.
5. Stop pushing the Microsoft Store so hard until it's better stocked
However, despite launching in 2012, the Store's selection of apps is still fairly lacklustre, especially compared to the unfettered selection of software available for the Window desktop.
Microsoft faces a classic chicken and egg problem: without the userbase, it won't get the apps, but without the apps, you can't attract the userbase.
Trying to forcibly create an audience by building an OS locked to the store isn't the answer, however, all it does is highlight just how sparse the offerings in the Microsoft Store are.
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